INDIANAPOLIS — Hundreds attended a community gathering at Temple Beth-El Zedeck on Monday night to pray for peace in Israel.
There was heavy security at the temple as Indianapolis’ Jewish community gathered in their collective shock and grief. Those heightened measures embody how fearful some are.
“The things that we are hearing are so horrific that we cannot believe this is happening,” said Helen Goldstein with the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis.
The temple was packed with people of the Jewish faith and those who came to just show their support for Israel. Organizers said the gathering was meant to provide a space for people to process what had happened.
“When tragedy happens, we all want to be together and that’s what this really is,” Goldstein said.
Goldstein’s son currently lives in Tel Aviv and she said he spends his nights in a bomb shelter. What’s worse than her anxiety as a mother is the numerous stories of atrocities coming out of Israel.
“They are taking young girls and raping, and they are taking the older girls and kidnapping them,” Goldstein said. “They are taking the men hostage and killing families.”
For so many, it’s hard to come to grips with the new reality in Israel. Many acknowledged that there’s little they can do other than to pray for their loved ones who are suffering thousands of miles away.
“Our hearts are in the east with our brothers and sisters in Israel,” Rabbi Dennis Sasso said. “We pray tonight for their safety, their wellbeing, their joy and their peace.”
Jewish community leaders encouraged their followers to support Israel in any way possible. Greg Maurer, whose daughter is studying in Israel, said it’ll take everyone to get through the day, weeks and months ahead.
“For us, it will require strength and unity to weather this storm,” Maurer said. “The unity we need is not the Jewish community alone but the entire community.”
Several politicians were in attendance at Monday night’s gathering. It was announced that the Israeli flag would soon be flying at the Governor’s mansion in a show of solidarity.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis said it will provide resources such as grief counseling to members over the coming weeks.